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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

xv       THE CHURCH OF S. SAVIOUR PANTOKRATOR      223
carried it on his broad shoulders all the way up the hill from the harbour of the Bucoleon (at Tchatlady Kapou), to the private chapel of the imperial residence near S. Sophia.1 Nicetas Choniates thought the aspect of the tomb and of its surroundings very significant. The seven protuberances on its cover represented the seven-hilled city which had been the emperor's throne ; the porphyry slab recalled the mighty deeds which he whose form lay so still and silent in the grave had wrought in the days of his strength ; while the black marble told the grief evoked by his death. Robert of Clari, who saw the tomb in 1203, extols its magnificence.  Never/ says he, c was born on this earth a holy man or a holy woman who is buried in so rich and splendid a fashion as this emperor in this abbey. There is found the marble table on which Our Lord was laid when taken down from the cross, and there are still seen the tears which Our Lady shed upon it'2
Some seven months after ManueF$ death a strange spectacle was witnessed at his tornb. His cousin, Andronicus Comnenus, the torment of his life and one of the worst characters in Byzantine history, taking advantage of the intrigues and disturbances which attended the minority of Manuel's son and successor, Alexius II. Comnenus, left his place of exile in Paphlagonia and appeared in Constantinople at the head of an army, as though the champion of the young sovereign's cause. No sooner had he reached the city than he proceeded to visit Manuel's tomb, to show the regard he professed to feel for a relative and sovereign. At the sight of the dark sarcophagus Andronicus gave way to the most violent paroxysms of grief. So deep and prolonged, indeed, did his distress seem, that his attendants implored him to control his feelings and leave the sad spot. But the mourner protested that he could not quit so hastily a place hallowed by such sacred and tender associations. Moreover, he had not yet said all he had to tell the dead. Bending, therefore, again over the grave, Andronicus continued to address the deceased. The words were inaudible, but they seemed a fresh outpouring of sorrow, and deeply
1 Nicet. Chon. p. 151.                     2 Riant, Exuviae sacrae, ii. p. 232.